Living with Chronic Pain

What Is COVID-19?

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COVID-19 is the abbreviated name for the disease that develops from the novel coronavirus outbreak that began in 2019. Coronaviruses are a common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections. COVID-19 is a new strain of the coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. It is believed that the first human infections were associated with a live animal market in the area and then spread from person to person. The coronavirus spreads when a person with the virus is in close proximity to others, especially if the affected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread through contact with infected surfaces, especially when a person touches an infected surface and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, indicating that it has affected a large population or region.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. These symptoms typically appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure to the coronavirus. Some individuals may not experience any symptoms. Others may experience more severe symptoms, such as high fever with a severe cough and shortness of breath, which may indicate pneumonia.

Those most at risk for developing serious illness or complications from COVID-19 are the elderly and individuals with preexisting conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. Children tend to experience milder symptoms of COVID-19.

Tips for keeping COVID-19 at bay

Some steps that can be taken to stay healthy include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. (Hint: Singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice takes approximately 20 seconds.)
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that consists of at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles and light switches.

Social distancing is also recommended to help slow the spread of the COVID-19. For individuals, social distancing means staying far enough away from other people to reduce the risk of spreading droplets that are produced from coughs or sneezes. For communities, social distancing involves canceling events intended for large groups of people. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend that healthy individuals wear face masks to protect themselves from respiratory diseases.

Individuals who are sick should stay home to avoid spreading illness. If an individual showing symptoms of COVID-19 needs to be around other people, they should wear a face mask; however, isolation is the best practice at this point.

Since there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19, it is essential to take steps to stay healthy and prevent the spread of the disease.